Stress is something that everyone encounters at various times in their life. Stress, especially chronic stress, is known to have a negative effect on people’s health and mental health. The uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, travel bans, social distancing, school and work closures is certainly stressful and anxiety provoking.
It is important to take care of our mental health during these unprecedented circumstances. There are small things that you can do in your daily life to help manage your stress and anxiety.
Try to maintain a routine: Many routines have changed abruptly with social distancing measures but creating new routines and keeping with some of the old ones will help you feel a measure of control.
Exercise: Aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects in as little as 5-10 minutes. Walking, jumping jacks, jumping rope can all be done while social distancing.
Meditating or breathing exercises: Close your eyes and picture a birthday cake with 10 candles. Take deep breaths and blow out each candle one by one. Download meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm that can guide you thru mindfulness activities.
Make it a point to participate in activities you enjoy: Do a puzzle, watch movies or TV shows, read a book, watch funny dog or cat videos. Find something that brings a smile to your face.
Tune out: Limit the amount of news and information you see every day. Stay informed but be careful not to overload.
Remember to stay connected with loved ones: Today’s technology makes this easier than ever before. Send a silly text or Facetime with a friend.
While you are doing your best tending to your self-care by utilizing all these tips, recognize that this can be an overwhelming time for many.
There are red flags when stress and anxiety levels are beginning to negatively impact your mental health:
- Change in mood
- Irritability or Increased anger
- Inability to sleep
- Change in appetite
If you are experiencing some of these warning signs you may need some extra support. There are resources.
Interface Referral Service: This is a free service for all Melrose residents. It can help connect you to any needed mental health services.
CDC.gov: Tips from the CDC on managing stress and anxiety during the Cornovirus pandemic.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips for managing Covid-19 anxiety.